Pro-Palestinian protesters in Philadelphia target Israeli-owned restaurant, chant accusations of ‘genocide’

An Israeli-born restaurant owner in Philadelphia was harassed by a large group of pro-Palestinian protesters who gathered outside his store Sunday night and accused him of genocide.

Hundreds of protesters marched through Philadelphia calling for a cease-fire in Gaza when some of the demonstrators stormed Goldie, an Israeli-style falafel shop co-owned by chef Michael Solomonov. The protesters shouted outside the restaurant and vandalized it, officials said.

Their actions were captured on video and shared by the state’s governor, prompting criticism from other officials.

“Goldie, Goldie you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” the protesters can be heard shouting in the video.

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Hundreds of pro-Palestinian protestors marched through Philadelphia on Sunday night, Dec. 3, 2023, which included them surrounding and shouting at the owner of an Israeli-born chef. (@thatJVG via Storyful)

According to city officials, other facilities were also vandalized, including TD Bank and Starbucks.

The University of Pennsylvania Division of Public Safety said in an alert, “Penn Police were on site monitoring as the march approached our campus and continued to monitor the area with Philadelphia Police until the protest concluded at approximately 8:20pm.”

Michael Solomonov in an apron

Michael Solomonov is seen at the Food Network & Cooking Channel New York City Wine & Food Festival presented by Capital One brunch with Camille Cogswell and Michael Solomonov at Spring Place on Oct. 12, 2019 in New York City. (Chance Yeh/Getty Images for NYCWFF)

“Penn Police documented multiple instances of graffiti along the march route and will be investigating to identify the individuals responsible,” they added.

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Both companies have been connected to the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza. 

TD Bank has donated toward humanitarian aid efforts in the Middle East. Starbucks previously said a pro-Palestinian post tarnished its brand, sparking backlash from Palestinian supporters. The company maintains that it “has been and remains a non-political organization.”

Graffiti that reads, 'Free Gaza'

A Starbucks store in Philadelphia was vandalized during a protest on Sunday night, Dec. 3, 2023. (Karen Closkey via Storyful)

Paint on a wall

A TD Bank location in Philadelphia was vandalized on Dec. 3, 2023 by a large group of pro-Palestinian protesters. (Karen Closkey via Storyful)

“Neither Starbucks nor the company’s former chairman, president and CEO Howard Schultz provide financial support to the Israeli government and/or the Israeli Army in any way,” the company clarified on its website.

Protesters waving flags

People gather to protest in Philadelphia on Oct. 17, 2023, after a blast at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza left many dead. (Thomas Hengge/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro condemned the protesters.

“Tonight in Philly, we saw a blatant act of antisemitism – not a peaceful protest,” haprio wrote on X, with the video attached.  “A restaurant was targeted and mobbed because its owner is Jewish and Israeli. This hate and bigotry is reminiscent of a dark time in history.”

The governor said he has communicated with Solomonov and his team at Goldie to express his support.

The White House later issued a statement as well.

“It is Antisemitic and completely unjustifiable to target restaurants that serve Israeli food over disagreements with Israeli policy, as Governor Shapiro has underlined,” spokesperson Andrew Bates said. “This behavior reveals the kind of cruel and senseless double standard that is a calling card of Antisemitism. President Biden has fought against the evil of Antisemitism his entire life, including by launching the first national strategy to counter this hate in American history. He will always stand up firmly against these kinds of undignified actions.”

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Philadelphia saw similar protests throughout the Israel-Hamas war, with another sizable gathering on October 17, after the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry said more than 500 people were killed following an explosion at Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital. After Hamas said the explosion was the result of an Israeli air strike, The Biden administration later debunked that claim, citing intelligence that showed the explosion was the result of a rocket launched from Gaza that misfired. 

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